USS Hawaii to stay here
Navy Secretary Donald Winter has confirmed that a $2.6 billion stealth Virginia-class nuclear submarine, the USS Hawaii, will be stationed at Pearl Harbor.
Winter said the 377-footer Hawaii -- the second Navy warship to be named after the 50th state -- will be commissioned next summer in Connecticut, with Gov. Linda Lingle acting as its sponsor.
For several years, Lingle and Rear Adm. John Donnelly, deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet, have said the Hawaii could be berthed here.
Lt. Jeff Davis, Pacific Fleet Submarine Forces spokesman, said the Hawaii "will be able to operate quietly in shallow coastal waters, collecting intelligence, inserting SEALs ashore and striking targets hundreds of miles inland."
Davis said the Virginia-class submarine differs from other nuclear attack submarines because:
» It uses a propulsor instead of a regular propeller. A propulsor is an advanced-design propeller shielded by a duct.
» The nuclear reactor is fueled for the life of the ship (30-plus years).
» It has a nine-man airlock trunk, enabling an entire SEAL team to lock out together (instead of two at a time now).
» It has no periscope, using a photonics mast with a camera instead.
Winter also said that the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Buffalo would be sent to Guam next year.
The Navy's attack sub force of 53 is split almost evenly now, with 28 in the Atlantic and 25 in the Pacific. By 2010 there will be 31 nuclear-powered attack subs in the Pacific Fleet and 21 assigned to the Atlantic Fleet.
Length: 377 feet
Displacement: 7,800 tons
Maximum diving depth: Greater than 800 feet
Speed: 25-plus knots
Cost: About $2.6 billion
Crew: 134 officers and enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk cruise missiles, Mark 48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes, advanced mobile mines and unmanned undersea vehicles
Source: U.S. Navy